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Early Marriages – a Violation of Human Rights

BERANE, 6 December 2017 – A resident of the Riverside settlement in Berane, Orhan Zizaku, got married at the age of 17. Today, he says, he would not allow any of his four children to do the same.

“I would like my children to study, go to school and then go to work. I want them to have good living conditions."

Orhan’s neighbour, Ferida Beriša, shares his opinion.

“If my daughter would turn 15 and ask to get married, I would not let her. I would contact the police and social services. The same goes for my son”, said Ferida, mother of four.


Orhan Zizaku, speaking about early marriages after attending workshops on preventing early marriages, organized by the Red Cross of Montenegro with UNICEFís support in Berane - UNICEF Montenegro/Dusko Miljanic 2017

Both Orhan and Ferida are participants of workshops on preventing early marriages, organized by the Red Cross of Montenegro with UNICEF’s support. Workshops are held in seven Montenegrin municipalities with largest Roma and Egyptian communities.

“Child marriage is a violation of human rights. It compromises the development of girls and boys. Moreover, it often results in early pregnancy, poor health, little education and social isolation. All these factors make it impossible to break the vicious circle of poverty - particularly for girls”, explains UNICEF Representative to Montenegro Osama Khogali.

Almost a thousand Roma and Egyptian people learned about the negative consequences of early marriages, domestic violence and violence against children through almost a hundred workshops organized for them on these issues.


Ferida Berisa, speaking about early marriages after attending workshops on preventing early marriages, organized by the Red Cross of Montenegro with UNICEFís support in Berane - UNICEF Montenegro/Dusko Miljanic 2017

According to the UNICEF’s survey conducted in 2013, one in three Roma girls, as well as one in six Roma boys age 15-19 years are in marriage or in union.

Although there is a steady downward trend of early marriages when compared to previous generations, the experience has shown that this practice cannot be eradicated through legal sanctions alone.

“The more education a girl receives, less likely she is to marry as a child. Improving access and eliminating gender gaps in education are important strategies in ending the practice of child marriage”, Khogali concludes.

Every child deserves an opportunity to fully develop his/her potentials. Let’s build families and a society which provide all children with these opportunities. Let’s support our children to grow up into healthy, happy, productive and responsible citizens – these are the key messages for parents attending the workshops aimed at raising awareness that child marriages are a violation of human rights.

 

 

 
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